Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Now I'm Pissed

PZ Myers at Pharyngula has a truly sickening post regarding the slaughter of dolphins in Japan. He links to this video of an actual slaughter-- be warned, it is graphic.

This isn't the end of the ugliness, though. While many of Dr. Myers' readers commented to express their disgust toward this ritual, a disturbing proportion also felt the need to share their bigoted opinions on the Japanese. For instance, check out this charming and insightful comment from one by the name or "Ribozyme":

I feel terribly sick after watching the video. The Japanese are still savages (as the Chinese had a chance to experience in WWII). The worse thing is their hipocrisy, with all the hassle they make about pet animals, who they even treat as children. This is going to sound very politically incorrect, and maybe PZ is going to suppress my comment, but after watching the video I'm thinking that maybe 2 A-bombs weren't enough...

. . .

What I meant to say is that the Japanese didn't learn the lesson from WWII, they still feel superior to other races (just interact any time with Japanese tourists) not to speak of other self aware species, and feel like they can ignore civilized international regulations. What the USA did to Japan in WWII, Japan asked for it.

(Note: I combined segements from two comments made by Ribozyme)

Here's an insightful look a Japanese culture from one "TheBowerbird":

What's disturbing about Japanese culture as well is how being childish is celebrated. There's this strange videogame/anime centric thing going on among the youth that seems to make them isolated, withdrawn, (such as the young males who live in their parents home - never coming out of their bedrooms to go outside) and which turns them into these odd daydreamers. A society that supports dolphin and whale slaughter is repugnant. Of course all Japanese are not to blame, but I sure see a strong market for cetacean products there. I've also read several articles recently about rising nationalism and levels of racism amongst their populace. Some good leader needs to arise in their country to wake the people up to the world around them : (

This next one, from "Markus," may be intended as sarcasm, but I'm just not sure. . .

Those Japanese are sadistic, emotionless barbarians.

Can't they just raise and slaughter cattle (+- decently)?

One last comment from "Niobe," not as bad as the others, but still a bit of nationalist generalization:

The Japanese lack any sense of conservation as far as the ocean is concerned. Anyone who's ever seen the Japanese dive knows what I'm talking about.

To be fair to Pharyngula, a lot of commenters have written strong, legitimate criticisms of Japanese whaling policy. As well, quite a few readers -- as well as Dr. Myers himself -- have called this racist shit for what it is. Still, it's kind of disturbing that some of the readers of Pharyngula -- a scientific, liberal minded blog -- could harbour opinions on the Japanese that wouldn't seem out of place in a WWII propaganda film.

There's a part of me that wants to think that this kind of idiocy doesn't need a rebuttal, but to counter the idea that the Japanese are univerally barbaric, I'm putting up a link to an article from Greenpeace Japan. I've also copied a segment of the article I found particularly relevant:
Each year after the whales have been measured and weighed by the scientists they are cut up and boxed for market. FAJ (The Fisheries Agency of Japan) says that "according to Japanese cultural values . whales are viewed as a food source." However, an opinion poll commissioned in 2002 by the influential Japanese Asahi newspaper paints a different picture: only 4% of the population regularly eat whale meat; 9% rarely eat it; 53% haven't eaten it since childhood and 33% never eat it.

"In reality few Japanese people view whale meat as a vital food source and even fewer actually eat it. It is simply not true that whaling is important to the Japanese public and the whaling fleet should not leave for the Antarctic whale sanctuary," said Mizuki Takana of Greenpeace Japan.

If Mizuki Takana is correct, then the "barbaric" Japanese are, in fact, a small minority of whalers, consumers, and fisheries officials.

P.S. If anyone else comes across any Japanese groups acting against whaling, let me know in the comments. You know, 'cause that's the sort of thing you just chance upon while surfing the internets.

P.P.S. I hope this post doesn't seem too hypocritical after in light of this earlier post.

1 comment:

Naomi said...

I've seen that footage before, it's form a documentary called "Earthlings" It's an interesting film.

Anyway, I was going to bring up that most of those commentors have never seen a meatpacking factory, but then I read that one comment, which made me laugh of the outwardly variety. I'm pretty shocked at how racey some of those comments were though. The A-bomb one especially. Interesting blog, Jeys.

I tried to find some Japanese based anti-whaling groups, but gave up quickly. I did find this, however:


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